In the run-up to our November 12th main event at The Witte Museum, we are taking the opportunity to revisit a few of our past speakers, to see what they’re up to these days and discover what advice they have for future TEDxSanAntonio speakers.
What was your experience like working with a TEDxSanAntonio curator?
Faith Harper: Working with a curator was just like working with my publishing editor, who is equally amazing. Nicole was a rock star at helping me figure out what I was trying to say and making sure I articulated that message the way I wanted to. A good curator doesn’t try to take over what you are doing but acts as a mirror. We often have an idea of what we are communicating that makes sense in our head, but doesn’t translate properly (as someone that works with a lot of couples I know this to be true!) While it was a time consuming process, she never exhausted me or fussed at me or made me feel pressured. We are still friends and are working on editing a volume of essays on micro advocacy together this year!
What first brought you to TEDxSanAntonio?
FH: I heard the call for speakers on the radio (Trinity Jazz or TPR) and applied on a whim. My experience with TED and TEDx was using some of the talk I really loved when teaching (Brene Brown being the primary example). I had zero idea of what I was getting into.
What tips do you have for future speakers?
FH: Be truly authentically passionate or don’t bother. You are going to invest a lot of time in this, first of all. Be prepared for that. Second, if you are trying to use this as a career stepping-stone or PR move, that will show. People can spot a fake a mile away and they won’t respond to your message unless you are authentic about what you are sharing. Do this like you mean it and your audience will respond. While my topic was “sexy” and therefore you would presume one of immediate interest, some people had the opposite response initially—the topic made them uncomfortable. I had many people tell me I won them over in the end because I cared about what I was saying so they opened up to it … and cared, too.
What’s your favorite TED talk?
FH: Brene Brown. Always. She’s a rock star. From my TEDxSanAntonio cohort, Liza Long, Martha Atkins, and Nelson Guda make me glad to be alive at the same time in history they are and that I got to share a stage with them discussing the amazing work they do.
How has your life changed since doing your TEDxSanAntonio talk?
FH: Life changes all the time, whether you want it to or not! I do think that the TEDx experience gave me a new level of confidence (not that anyone would have said I’m lacking in that department before that point!). About two years ago, I quit my day job and decided to be brave enough to support myself solely as a clinician, consultant, and trainer. It’s been a great experience … I am heading to Austin in a couple of days to train recovery coaches on a new supervision curriculum SAMHSA paid me to develop. Who knows if I would have felt comfortable taking that on a few years ago? Also, my clients like seeing something about me before they come to the office, it helps them feel more connected and ready to work and a few have told me that’s what prompted them to come see me in the first place!
Where/how can we keep up with you now? What projects, etc. are you working on now?
FH: I have a two-book deal with Microcosm Publishing. The first book comes out next year and I’ve been publishing a series of mental health pamphlets with them over the past year. I got married last year to a great guy who is as big a weirdo as I am (and is deeply patient when people come up to me in public and say “OH MY GOD! You’re the sex chick!” We started a publishing house together to support writing for political change and supporting causes we believe in. I do lots of teaching, consulting and workshops around the state as well as my private practice. I started incorporating clinical nutrition work into my practice, because we don’t look at the mind/body connection part of mental health nearly enough. My websites are www.theintimacydr.com and www.faithgharper.com. Our press website is www.saysomethingrealpress.com. I’m also writing for Out In SA magazine, which people can find wherever the Current is located.
For more from Faith Harper
Watch Faith’s TEDxSanAntonio talk Shame, Sex, Silence from the 2013 Minds Wide Open event.
Join the TEDxSanAntonio community and previous speakers at this November’s Now You Know event. Buy your tickets online now. >>>>>> tedxsanantonio.com/2016-fall-speakers/